The Sandman's Saga Continues

Neil Gaiman's The Sandman It’s been an auspicious week for lovers of comics and lovers of good TV – and, ideally, the perfect marriage of the two. First, The Walking Dead was reportedly offered a second season almost 2 months before it even premiers (although the second season appears to be officially unconfirmed, most news outlets are, based on their sources, considering it a given). Now, rumor has it The Sandman is making its way to the small screen.

The Sandman, for the uninitiated, was an epic comic penned by Neil Gaiman and published by DC/Vertigo between 1989-1996. It is one of the most highly acclaimed comics of all time, and the only comic to ever win the World Fantasy Award. Even Entertainment Weekly rated it as one of the best reads in recent decades. In print, The Sandman has major staying power.

On screen, things aren’t so sure. There’s undoubtedly potential for the story of the Lord of Dreams, who must repair his kingdom after years of neglect, to translate extremely well to the television medium. Since most of The Sandman takes place independent of the DC comics universe in which it resides, there’s not a whole lot of back story one must be in-the-know to understand. It also has tremendous appeal for its dark horror and fantasy spin, which should make it a shoe-in for more grown up cable programming.

But The Sandman has been subjected to numerous rumors of movie adaptations, and has been the object of desire for many a Hollywood figure. Nevertheless, it’s failed to make the transition. The reasons why are not entirely clear (although Kick-Ass director Matthew Vaughn, when discussing a desire to bring The Sandman to HBO last spring, pointed out that the 75 issue series is too broad to condense to a traditional film length). Whether or not those reasons would throw up roadblocks to the series’s success on television – or make the television adaptation impossible altogether – remains to be seen.

Warner Brothers TV would be bringing the comic to life as yet without Neil Gaiman’s participation, as it’s been reported that the early stages of the project don’t include him. This is a red flag for many fans. It’s always preferable to have the author involved in an adaptation of his work. In fact it is, for most of us, the reason we are so confident The Walking Dead will be a well-made series, since writer Robert Kirkman has been on board from the start.

The man slated to make it all happen? Supernatural creator Erik Kripke. Or at least he’s the apparent first choice, as Warner Brothers TV is still in negotiations with DC Entertainment for the television rights, so no firm decisions about writers and producers have been made.

So, as ever, the fate of a Sandman adaptation remains in the balance, but this latest development is far more promising than the failed silver screen dreams. Provided, of course, that the comic isn’t totally ruined by a lack of Gaiman’s input, should things develop that way. The best possible outcome is The Sandman made with Neil Gaiman, brought to life faithfully and creatively, on a channel that’s unafraid to think outside the box and be bold. For now, the worst case scenario is that The Sandman negotiations will fall through…which is, in essence, a familiar circumstance for fans. [via io9]

Other Neil Gaiman goodness here at ForeverGeek: Shakespeare and Geeks

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